Synagogues  /  Young Israel of Greater Buffalo

Young Israel of Greater Buffalo began as an informal orthodox minyan in 1973 and formally incorporated in 1974. It built its synagogue on Maple Road in 1979 and has retained this congregational home over the entirety of its almost fifty-year history.


The Young Israel of Greater Buffalo began informally in October 1973 with a small group (minyan) at a private home. Eventually, regular meetings met at 88 Sudbury Lane and formally incorporated in the spring of 1974. Founder members included the families of Dubb, Klein, Lakein, Magid, Maslow, Merowitz, Paskowitz, Schwartz, Sclair, Weinberger, Weisberger, and Zombek. Michael Paskowitz served as the congregation’s first president.

The nascent congregation drew members from a disparate group, some of whom were associated with the University at Buffalo, as students and professors, as well as local professionals and business owners, and were diverse in age and religious background. In 1976, the congregation hired its first rabbi, Rabbi Kalman Winter. A permanent home for Young Israel was built at 105 Maple Road in Williamsville in 1979. After Rabbi Winter relocated to Greater Washington, the congregation has been led by several other rabbinical leaders including Rabbi Yirmayahu Kaganoff, Rabbi Naftali Bernstein, Rabbi Dovid Plaut and Rabbi Yirmiyah Milevsky. More recently Rabbi Moshe Taub now rabbi at Young Israel of Holliswood-Holliswood Jewish Center, was instrumental in the successful construction of an eruv for Amherst and the supervision of the Vaad Hakashrus of Buffalo. Current information about the Vaad is available through Members have been heavily involved in the support of the Mikvah located on Maple Road.

Throughout its history, Young Israel of Greater Buffalo has maintained a mix of members who are native Buffalonians, transplants, and from both traditional observant backgrounds and those who are newly orthodox. The synagogue supports an NCSY Ohr Torah Chapter for the Har Sinai Region and is affiliated with the National Council of Young Israel. In 2017, Rabbi Eliezer Marcus from Kollel Toronto, the Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies was installed as Young Israel’s seventh rabbi.


Founder Families

  • Dubb
  • Klein
  • Lakein
  • Magid
  • Maslow
  • Merowitz
  • Paskowitz
  • Schwartz
  • Sclair
  • Weinberger
  • Weisberger
  • Zombek 

Discover More

  • Collections: University Archives, University at Buffalo, Amherst, NY.
  • Local Jewish Community Records, 1844-1976 (MS150.3)
  • Synagogue Records, 1884-1986 (MS150.5)
  • Rabbi Kalman Winter Bio
  • Clipping, “Amherst Synagogue Site Dedicated,” Buffalo Courier Express, November 21, 1977. Buffalo State College Buffalo Courier Express Archives.  This includes a photograph of Michael Paskowitz.
  • 25th Anniversary Program, Young Israel of Greater Buffalo, NY, c.1999.
  • Young Israel of Greater Buffalo, The Joseph and Sonia Klein Synagogue, the Faye and Joseph Tanenbaum Building, Annual Souvenir Journal, 2011-2012.

Contribute to this Page

Young Israel of Greater Buffalo is seeking internal and external photographs, documents, film, mementos and written recollections relating to Young Israel of Greater Buffalo. If you have materials you’d like to make available for this purpose, please contact Young Israel of Greater Buffalo.

Thank You

Our thanks to Young Israel of Greater Buffalo, the Foundation for Jewish Philanthropies, and the Cofeld Judaic Museum for source materials used in the creation of this entry.